GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Another stolen gun is now on the streets.
NBC Charlotte has learned a CMPD officer’s personal car was broken into Tuesday afternoon while parked at his home in Gaston County.
A report filed with the Gastonia police department shows around 4:35 p.m. Tuesday, someone broke into the officer’s F-250 SuperCab and stole his .40 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun and accompanying weapon light.
“It was actually in a lock-box underneath the seat, so sometimes people overcome even the best attempts to keep it safe, so it wasn’t irresponsibility that lead to this one,” CMPD police chief Kerr Putney said.
Stolen guns are a trend on the rise, as the number of car-break-ins and vehicle thefts increase. In 2018, CMPD says car thefts jumped 12 percent with nearly 3,000 cars stolen from across Charlotte.
Officials say many of those cars were left running with keys still inside. But what’s worse is what’s taken from inside those cars. Police say last year nearly 500 guns were stolen from cars.
A request for information by NBC Charlotte shows only nine weapons have been stolen from CMPD officers since 2013.
Police say they’re looking for the suspect in this recent case, and they're using it as a reminder to all -- never leave unsecured firearms in your car, saying you never know whose hands they’ll end up in.